Magazine article Ebony

How to Find and Plan the Best Cruise

Magazine article Ebony

How to Find and Plan the Best Cruise

Article excerpt

HOTELS are nice, resorts are great and amusement parks will thrill you with rides, but there is an unimaginable thrill--a rush, if you will--when you take a cruise. Nowadays, cruise packages are tailored for every income and interest, and are among the most desired and most-planned-for events on the typical social calendar. Still, the secret to having the best cruise is finding the right cruise for you, one that fits your pocketbook and your passions. So, before you set sail, take note of the following tips to be sure your cruise meets every facet of your desires.

Start Early. Most cruise lines, especially the major players, offer substantial discounts to early-bird shoppers, those who book four to six months in advance. With discounts between 10 to 50 percent off and other perks, including reserved dinner seating, reduced air fare and preferred cabin selection, starting early may make a huge difference in your bottom line and your overall cruise experience. As an added incentive, most early bird deals offer price adjustments if prices go down.

Create a Budget. Once you've determined how much you want to spend, you can begin to browse by length of stay, destination, location of cabin and departure city. Browse the Web sites of some of the most popular cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, Norwegian) and check out the special deals for your personal specifications.

Determine Your Interests. If it's romance, adventure, entertainment or kid-friendly travel choosing the cruise that fits your interests will be the key to maximizing the cruise experience. Since your ship will serve as your on-site entertainment, restaurant and hotel, you will want to make sure that there is a fit between your desires and the package offered.

Consider a Travel Agent. If this is your first cruise, a travel agent, one who knows the business and has built a relationship with the major cruise lines, may relieve the stress of doing it on your own. …

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